Community Members’ Vision to Transform City Brownfields

Brownfields could transform into community markets

by Angee Zavala
October 7, 2013

Southeast Los Angeles CBE members have been working for the past two years on the Brown to Green Project. The latest step was to visualize a new Huntington Park where selected brownfields are turned into a sustainable mixed-use area that supports environmental health and a healthy local economy. A brownfield is a contaminated space or building that is vacant, for example, an empty gas station.

Members went on a Toxic Tour in San Diego led by the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) and learned how EHC transformed a brownfield. Through forums at Huntington Park High School led by urban planner James Rojas, members brainstormed on the future of three brownfields at Southland Steel, Festival site and the Randolph Street Railroad tracks. Through hands-on visioning sessions, members created detailed plans for a potential community clinic or food co-op at the Festival site building; a community-friendly market for the Southland Steel site; and a “Rail-with-Trail” project that integrates a pedestrian and bike-friendly trail next to the Randolph Street railroad tracks.

CBE’s United Residents for Southeast Los Angeles and CBE’s Youth for Environmental Justice members have presented to the Huntington Park City Council on the importance of our Brown to Green project and have received nothing but positive feedback. It is an exciting project that can not only transform Huntington Park into a healthier community but also serve as an example for the transformation of other communities.

Read more Fall 2013 articles.

* Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture